So far, so very good.

Given the somewhat hurried nature of my departure to a destination more or less imposed on me, my first fortnight on what has now imaginatively been christened The Big Trip has been a nothing short of a resounding success. And this despite needing to extend my stay by an additional six nights in order to purge any trace of my presence in the United Kingdom from my electronic migratory history. Unexpectedly, I must give Dubai a lot of credit for this. A city towards which I had been nothing but superciliously dismissive on previous business trips has charitably forgiven my haughtiness and rewarded me with the ideal soft landing before the more challenging travels begin.

The Dubai of interminable shopping mall visits, visual merchandising tutorials, and new collection presentations is now a city of the past. This is a Dubai of midnight desert bonfire parties, of cutting edge conceptual art installations visited with new friends, of street art walking tours, and of spontaneous overnight 4 x 4 camping expeditions into neighbouring emirates. Starved of meaningful stimuli by the virus-imposed restrictions of the last few months back home, I have thrown myself at this city with wild cultural abandon, and met some wonderful people already – thank you Couchsurfing, yet again.

The first of many serendipitous travel moments

But it is also a Dubai of very lazy mornings spent lying in a very comfortable bed, coquettishly rolling from side to side like a Hollywood starlet discovering luxury for the first time. Of morning rooftop poolside rituals in near perfect constant 24c sunshine, and specific room service rock star requests (“No decaf capsules for the Nespresso today, Mimi darling, thank you…”. This is the gratuitous self-indulgence of a traveller who has experienced more than enough of the rough to truly appreciate the smooth when it is on tap.

For there will some dark moments along the way, on this long road of adventure that lies ahead. Moments when I will crave peace, solitude, and comfort but be given crowds, noise, and cockroaches. I need only close my eyes to remember and *SHUDDER* relive that night in the $1 “hotel” in Sudan to know that it will not all be milk and honey, sweetness and light. So I will enjoy this interlude of unbackpackerlike luxury for all that it is worth, and use it to prepare adequately for the next destination.

It’s tough at the top

And planning is unsurprisingly the task that has been the real challenge of the week. The quite spectacular irony is not lost on me that I have severed all ties to any form of social responsibility in order to have the whole world at my fingertips, only to have the whole world issue me with a list of rules and regulations around which to plot my path. I can have zero complaints, however; I was conscious of the challenges presented when I made the calculated decision to leave the UK two weeks ago, and accept them with great relish and the utmost respect. Patience will be key to maintaining my sanity.

Fortunately I have my trusty travel bible to guide me on this real life game of Monopoly – Global Covid-19 Edition, as I attempt to avoid quarantine jail and move my playing piece past punitive PCR charges. Dubai has been glorious, both as a means of escape and in its own right, and I will look back very fondly on this last fortnight, not least for some of the incredible people I have met. But Dubai and its wonderfully extravagant luxuries can be nothing more than a prologue to the main body of travel. The next destination has already been chosen, or rather it has chosen me, and it is equally as unexpected to me as the first was. Let the games begin…

Catching up with an old friend for the first time in 10 years

Well played, Dubai, well played…

You might also enjoy:


  1. Ah JMK – I am already so enjoying your blog posts; there must be a book in here somewhere… always happy to provide agent/manager services when the time comes

    Keep going, keep posting and I for my part will keep providing encouragement, light mocking when it is due (and it will be at some stage) and a lifeline for when you inevitably lose everything you own in some seedy hotel… a genuine offer BTW! See you soon(ish); may your travels be fruitful.

    1. A lovely comment, and I wouldn’t have expected anything less – thank you, Sir!

      I will accept both encouragement and mocking in whatever quantities I deserve, and the lifeline when it becomes necessary. Where I am currently may require a lifeline!

  2. Intrigued to know where you’ll land next! Keep us posted as it’s light relief from the Groundhog Day that most of us are living right now. Enjoy, stay safe! And please, more info on the $1 Sudan hotel needed!

    1. I will gladly tell you about that night in Sudan, but only in person. I could not even imagine what words might do it justice!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *